Summer 2021 is finally here and thank God we can finally catch a few flights. Here are a few things you should do if you have Rwanda on your bucket list.
What do you picture when you hear “Rwanda”?
I had no idea what to expect when I embarked on a four day trip to Rwanda. Sure, I’d seen pictures of what it looks like, but nothing prepared me for the beauty that is Rwanda. It turned out to be one of the best trips I’ve taken. This inspired me to create a Rwanda travel guide for anyone who wants to have a peaceful experience in Rwanda.
With a combination of breathtaking scenery and friendly people, Rwanda offers a unique experience. Popularly known as “Le Pays Des Mille Collines“, meaning Land of a thousand hills, it is a famous destination for tourists searching for exotic sights.
Due to the fact that you would be entering Rwanda as a tourist, there are some basic documents that you need to ensure you’re not delayed at the airport and other importand checkpoints.
What You’ll Need
Tourist Visa: You can obtain a 30-day tourist visa at the port of entry for $50 (single entry) or $70 (multiple entries). I would advise that you have enough money as cash to pay for the visa in case there are issues with card or online payments.
Vaccinations: You need a World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination, especially if you are coming from a country where there is an active yellow fever outbreak.
Passport: You need your passport as a valid means of identification.
Dress Code: There are no dress code restrictions; however, daytime temperatures tend to be warm, and light dresses are advised. However, Rwandans are a little conservative.
The most important thing to note is that many people in Rwanda are not native English speakers. It is advisable that you establish that you can effectively communicate with your driver or tour guide to avoid miscommunication while getting to your destination.
Arriving in Rwanda.
Our flight was stress free as we flew out from Murtala Muhammad International Airport and was about four hours long.
I noticed two things after we arrived in Rwanda. It has many rolling hills and plantations that created a breathtaking sight, and the environment is extremely clean and well taken care of. The level of cleanliness was really impressive.
Our hotel was located in Kigali, Rwanda and it took about 20 minutes to get there from the airport.
Kigali is a city that has a real cosmopolitan vibe going on.
Where to Stay?
Hotel prices can range from $30 to $1000 per night, depending on where you choose to stay. We used Booking.com to make payments because it allowed us to pay for all the hotels on arrival. Booking.com features hotels in Rwanda, and you can book your rooms before leaving your home country.
Pili Pili Hotel
We stayed at the Pili Pili Hotel, Kigali. The hotel was very comfortable and quiet. There is nature and fresh air around, which will help you relax, have a nice time and give you that vacation vibe. The hotel had an earthy African vibe with its wooden walls, staircases and cosy rooms.
The food was very good and the customer service was impressive.
With rooms that offer breathtaking sights of mountains and Lake Kivu, Paradis Malahide is a beautiful resort located seven kilometres from downtown Gisenyi.
The interior offers an appealing rustic and African vibe, while the exterior gives you an amazing beachfront experience.
The resort has an on-site restaurant that serves delicious meals and also provides special diet menus on request.
Kigali Marriott Hotel
The Kigali Marriott Hotel offers luxurious accommodation in downtown Kigali. It has on site convention space and meeting rooms, and also offers free WiFi access.
Each room at Kigali Marriott features floor-to ceiling windows and a private balcony with a seating area.
The hotel has a spa they offers a variety of treatments, a bar, a sauna and a top-class restaurant.
The hotel environment is soothing and calm and the rooms are beautifully designed and decorated.
If you are looking for a good secure hotel to spend your time in Kigali, this is your hotel.
Places to visit
During our four day visit, we had the opportunity to visit some major landmarks and tourist attractions. Kigali is a beautiful city with more than enough sites to keep you enthralled.
Here are a few paces you must visit in Kilgali:
The Genocide Memorial
The Genocide Memorial Centre is located just a few metres from the city centre, and it takes about 10 minutes to get there. It is one of the most popular attractions in Kigali as it receives thousands of visitors every week, and many leave messages of hope and remembrance and features messages from influential people like Morgan Freeman.
Inside the memorial, there are numerous display areas, such as a room for Survivor skulls, personal belongings, survivor images, attempts at healing, and victims of genocide. Aside from the genocide of Rwanda, there is room for photographs and descriptions of other tragic genocides witnessed in other parts of the world. Outside the building, you will find a garden filled with mass graves where survivors and those who lost their loved ones come to re-connect and to remember their beloved families, friends and relatives that where they’ve lost.
Lake Kivu is surrounded by magnificent mountains and has deep waters covering a surface area of 2,700 km2. It is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth-largest in Africa.
We took a boat tour in one of the fishing boats and found out that the boats are all connected to avoid them washing away when strong winds blow.
The day I spent on Lake Kivu was relaxing and beautiful.
A climb to the top of the mountain rewards you with breathtaking views of Gisenyi town and the entire Lake Kivu, as well as the neighbouring city of Goma. There is also rock climbing sport at the mountain.
Spending time in Rwanda was exciting. The activities were exhilarating, the food was divine, and I honestly would recommend picking Rwanda as a vacation destination.
Some stories are better experienced when seen rather than narrated. You can check out my vlog here to have a feel of Rwanda. If you’re interested in links to any of the outfits I wore during my trip, you can check it out here.
All my love,